Developments in Colombia (was Brazilian gore)

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky nestor at
Tue Nov 2 01:40:44 MST 1999

El  1 Nov 99 a las 23:18, Carlos Eduardo Rebello nos

> Bourgeois-democratic ambience in Latin America is so
> unstable, capital accumulation so anti-social, the border
> line between legal and illegal means so thin [...]
> that the FARC and ELN have been forced, by the
> dynamics of things, to resort to revolutionary means in
> order to achieve reformist aims. That, IMHO, makes so far
> the question of the revolutionary character of the
> Colombian peasant movement an academic one.

Certainly so. The art of politics and history lies exactly
in the ability to see what do _actions_ say on people, no
matter their utterances, or at least to understand even
their utterances as _actions_.  George seems to be quite
oblivious of this side of things.

Were he not wrong on the basic matter, he would be doing an
important point, however, and I think this point deserves
justice. The point is not that "bourgeois-democratic"
measures such as wiping away the great landowners are by
themselves "reformist" and "not socialist", but that what
matters is the context, the general thrust, and the
conditions for realization of the ultimate goals for such a
measure, goals which are NOT economic in the narrow sense.

This is something that I wanted to say after I sent my
previous posting on this thread. True, there have
been pro-imperialist land reforms, in fact, and perhaps
this is what George is worried about. Take the case of
Japan under McArthur, or better still of Costa Rica under
Figueres. The whole building of the Alianza para el
Progreso (a heavy construction directed against the Cuban
Revolution in the early 60s) lay on the "reforma agraria"
tenet. And there are agrarian reforms, such as the Bolivian
one, which though not pro-imperialist were designed to
ensure a heavy conservatism in the peasants (a landless
peasant is a revolutionary subject, thousands of landed
peasants in microscope-sized lots are what Marx termed a
"sack of potatoes"), something the Che failed to see in the
60s, and cost us his life.

In this sense, the "agrarian reform" is not a desirable
task. But when you have millions of land-hungry campesinos
in a country where many of the basic assets of imperialism
are in the tropical fruit trade or in the export of
agricultural products (coffee, or coca leaves!), where the
bourgeois revolution has not -to be rigorous- taken place
(this does not mean that Latin American countries are
feudal, George, don't hurry up!), in these countries
whoever answers to the hunger for land (and for more
elementary things, such as not being forcibly evicted -and
by the millions, George, by the millions!- from
their lands by an American company, such as has happened in
Northern Colombia a couple of years ago) is confronting the
regime at its very core.

On the other hand, there is a second issue at stake here,
which is the role of the armed forces of Colombia. In this
sense, the second part of the posting by Carlos is quite
revealing. Carlos must be very amazed at the opinions by
Julio and me re: the more "national" character of the
Brazilian armed forces today, as compared to the
Argentinian leadership. They have, however, been forced to
take a good position on the conflict by mere considerations
of national security. It depends on how you look at the
news, but the information that they have forbidden the
access to the airstrip in the borderland _equally_ to the
Colombian military and the guerrilla can be almost
understood as the recognizance that there are two,
belligerent, and on equal standing, parties in Colombia. To
put it in "think-tanker" terms [;), just a pun George], the
Brazilian armed forces are accepting that there is a de
facto dual power situation in the Colombian countryside.

This dual power has been also recognized by the current
Colombian president, and by the president of Venezuela.
What is more, it has been recognized by the Colombian
military and the USA intelligence community. In fact, it is
very probably this last recognition which moved President
Pastrana to negotiate with the FARC in order to avoid a
coup by the Colombian military. Relations of power within
the ruling bloc are of interest of the workers and
peasants, too...

Well, enough for the day.


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